Lambda School Cost: Is it Worth it?

Lambda school review

Lambda School is a popular Online Coding School and Bootcamp, In this post, I will share my experience with you and talk about the Lambda School Costs and payment options.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Delta on Lambda

With jobs in tech becoming more in demand than ever and specialist skills earning a high premium, a number of coding programs and boot camps have appeared on the market to prepare those that do not have a Computer Science (CS) degree or other programming-intensive course but who wish to start a career in tech. 

The challenge with most of these programs is that they factor in the desirability of the prospective job and your potential salary when pricing the course. 

And of course, you have to pay for the Bootcamp before you even start applying for jobs so you can be thousands or tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket before you go to your first interview.

That being said, coding boot camps are not a scam, there is a genuine reason for their high prices. 

People with the skills they are trying to teach you are very well paid, which means the boot camps have to pay a premium to get experienced developers to instruct every class, as they’re competing for their expertise with very well-paying tech companies.

Unfortunately, the only way the boot camps can get cheaper is if the skills themselves would be less desirable, and that isn’t looking likely at the moment.

The Lambda Way: Lambda School Cost

But what if there was another way? This question was the thought-starter that led to the philosophy of the Lambda School

Instead of asking you to pay for the training up front and promise a lucrative job in the future, Lambda provides the training for free and asks you to pay a share of your future earnings back to the company once you start earning over $50,000 a year.

The idea here is simple, if the training isn’t for you or if you don’t get a well-paying job you don’t have to pay anything for the training. 

If the Lambda way does work for you though, you get your dream job in tech and you start paying for your training when you’re earning more money, not when you’re trying to break in.

You might be asking yourself, “It sounds interesting but… do I have to pay a share of my income forever?”, and the simple answer is no. 

While Labda’s tuition agreements involve long-term financial obligations you will never pay more than $30,000 for the training provided by the Lambda School for paying the Lambda School cost, no matter how much you earn.

So what can you learn at Lambda? They offer three courses:

  • Data Science
  • Full Stack Web Development
  • Backend Development

As revolutionary as this approach is, you don’t have to pay for your education as a share of your income. Lambda provides a whole range of options, including some more conventional ones.

Option 1 – Pay Upfront

The most straightforward way for you to pay for your training is one upfront fee before you start your course. The amount you pay will depend on the location of your campus, with some being significantly cheaper than others.

CampusTuition
California (CA), Washington DC (DC), Georgia (GA), Texas (TX)$30,000
All other states$15,000

In most states, you’ll be paying $15,000 for the full course, which can be a 50% discount compared to the Income Share Agreement (assuming you earn enough to pay it all off), so it might be worth it if you are fortunate enough to afford the tuition up front.

If you pull out of the course before completion, you might be able to get a partial refund, depending on how much of the course you’re already completed and what course you are taking, you should always check your Enrollment Agreement before signing up.

Option 2 – Pay in Installments

If paying in full before you start isn’t an option but you are still apprehensive about entering into an Income Share Agreement you can also choose to pay in three installments with 0% interest.

The Lambda School cost you pay will still vary depending on which state you’re in, but the schedule is the same.

Check this out -> Bloom Institute of Technology review

You will make one payment for a third of the course for the Lambda School cost before starting, and then two more payments, one when you’re 25% of the way through the course and one when you’re 50% through the course.

California (CA), Washington DC (DC), Georgia (GA), Texas (TX)All other states
Due by the Enrollment deadline$10,000$5,000
Due by Week 7 (25%)$10,000$5,000
Due by Week 13 (50%)$10,000$5,000
Total$30,000$15,000

A note on tuition in California, Washington DC, Georgia & Texas

As you can see from the breakdowns above, tuition in these four states is $30,000, which also happens to be the cap on the Income Share Agreement (ISA)

This means that you’re not saving any money by paying tuition in advance / in installments if you live in these four states compared to an ISA.

As the income sharing agreement is capped at $30,000, you might end up paying less than that depending on your circumstances, so you might be saving money on the overall Lambda School cost if opting for the ISA instead of making payments before and during the course.

Option 3 – The Lambda Innovation – Income Share Agreements

The really interesting proposal from Lambda School is the option to finance your course using an Income Share Agreement, which means you pay absolutely nothing while you’re taking the course and learning new skills or looking for a job.

What’s an Income Share Agreement?

Simply put, it’s a form of deferred tuition. But unlike a loan, you only have to start paying once you meet certain income and role requirements.

This means that Lambda’s goals are aligned to your own. You want to get a well-paying job in tech, and so does Lambda, because that’s the only time they get paid for the training they provided.

This means they will prioritize skills that get you hired, and while this might not be a guarantee that a Lambda course is more applied than other boot camps, they are incentivized to make you as employment-ready as they can. 

They want you to get that high-paying job so you can start paying your tuition fees.

What’s the catch?

There’s no real catch. Lambda’s ISA has three main requirements:

  1. You need to make at least $50,000 a year (before taxes) before you have to pay for the course.
  1. Your job has to use skills that you learned at Lambda – there is a minor catch here, you don’t have to do exactly the job you trained for. 

If your job requires the skills you were taught at Lambda, that still counts.

  1. You have to find a job meeting these 2 requirements within 5 years of graduation, if you don’t, you don’t owe Lambda anything

Must see -> Is Lambda School Legit?

How much would I have to pay if I meet the requirements?

You’ll have to pay Lambda 17% of your yearly salary (paid in monthly installments) up to the total cap of $30,000 or 24 months of payments, whichever comes first. 

Yes, you read that right, you could end up paying less than $30,000 if you make $88,000 a year or less. That does not mean you have to pay a smaller share of your income, which stays the same 17%.

Here are some examples using average junior salaries for courses offered by Lambda School:

RoleFull-Stack DeveloperBack End DeveloperData Scientist
RoleJunior Full Stack DeveloperJunior Software EngineerJunior Data Scientist
Average Salary – First Year$61,000$61,000$85,000
AssumptionsSalary increase of 2.5K after the first yearSalary increase of 2.5K after the first yearSalary increase of 2.5K after the first year
Average Salary – Second Year$63,500$63,500$87,500
Monthly Payment – 1st year$864$864$1,204
Monthly Payment – 2nd year$900$900$1,240
No of Payments24 (cap)24 (cap)24 (cap)
Total Paid$21,165$21,165$29,325
Cap ReachedNoNoNo (close though)

What happens if I don’t get the exact job I’m training for?

As long as you’re making more than $50,000 a year and using skills you learned in Lambda school you still have to pay 17% of your income for the Lambda School Cost until you hit the $30,000 cap or have contributed for 24 months

If you’re fortunate enough to get a job that pays $176,500 or more a year you will pay off your ISA at an accelerated rate – in one year. 

You can find some examples of salaries and the total amount paid below for reference.

Yearly Salary$50,000$60,000$75,000$100,000$176,500
Monthly Income$4,167$5,000$6,250$8,333$14,708
Lambda Payment$708$850$1,062$1,417$2,500
No of Payments24 (cap)24 (cap)24 (cap)2112
Total Paid$16,992$20,400$25,500$30,000 (cap)$30,000 (cap)

A few answers to some questions you might have about ISAs:

  • How does Lambda School know how much I make?
    You have to report your income to Lambda (or their ISA partner depending on your agreement). You can send a pay stub, a contractor agreement, or a letter from your employer.
  • How will Lambda School know if the job uses skills taught during the course?
    They will ask for a job description and make an assessment. If your job does not require any of the skills taught you can defer payments until you find your dream tech job.
  • Is there any ongoing paperwork?
    You will need to provide Lambda’s servicing partner’s documents showing your income when this increases or decreases. You will also need to provide a year-end pay stub, form W-2, form 1099, schedule K-1 or any other official documentation showing sources of earned income for the previous calendar year by the 30th of April each year.
  • What if I can’t find a job that qualifies?
    If you can’t find a job that meets the repayment requirements within 60 months of completing the ISA expires. If you however find a qualified position that meets the income requirements in the 59th month, you will still have to continue paying the ISA fees for 24 months (for a maximum term of 83 months).

Option 4 – The California Retail Installment Contract

Unfortunately, Income Share Agreements are not available to California residents for the payment of the Lambda School Cost. However, Lambda has a different option available for students in the sunshine state, Retail Installment Contracts (RIC).

RICs have many of the same advantages Income Share Agreements have like:

  • No requirement to pay anything until you get a job that pays $50,000 a year or more
  • No requirement to pay anything if you can’t get a qualified position that requires the skills you learned in the Lambda School course
  • Paying only 17% of your income every month towards tuition if you meet the conditions above
  • Payments capped at $30,000 no matter what your salary is

It does come with one major drawback though:

  • Unlike ISAs, Retail Installment Contracts are not limited to 24 months, so you will need to continue paying back your RIC until you reach the $30,000 owed no matter how many installments that takes.

Here’s what the examples from the ISA section would look like if you were a California Resident:

RoleFull-Stack DeveloperBack End DeveloperData Scientist
RoleJunior Full Stack DeveloperJunior Software EngineerJunior Data Scientist
Average Salary – First Year$61,000$61,000$85,000
AssumptionsSalary increase of 2.5K after the first year and another 2.5K after the second yearSalary increase of 2.5K after the first year and another 2.5K after the second yearSalary increase of 2.5K after the first year and another 2.5K after the second year
Average Salary – Second Year$63,500$63,500$87,500
Average Salary – Third Year$66,000$66,000$90,000
Monthly Payment – 1st year$864$864$1,204
Monthly Payment – 2nd year$900$900$1,240
Monthly Payment – 3rd year$935 (final payment is $420)$935  (final payment is $420)$675 (only one payment left)
No of Payments343425
Total Paid$30,000$30,000$30,000

As you can see, the deal you get is slightly worse in California, as you have to continue paying until you hit the $30,000 cap, whereas in other states you can stop after 2 years of payments. 

Lambda School is doing its best to get ISAs approved in California as well, so depending on when you’re reading this, you might be able to take advantage of the great offer available in other states.

Also Read: Lambda school acceptance rate

Conclusion

If you’re looking to make a career change and you think the world of software development or data science is for you, Lambda School provides a golden opportunity to get the training you need risk-free.

Their innovative financing methods mean that their goals are perfectly aligned with yours and that your payments start only once you’ve got a well-paying job

Gone is the worry of having to take any job out there because you have outstanding student debt.

If you’re a California, Washington DC, Georgia, or Texas resident, it makes no sense to pay for your training upfront as the amount you’re paying is exactly the same you would pay for the Lambda School cost through your ISA or RIC, so you’re better off waiting to see if development is really for you before you commit financially.

Good luck and happy coding.

Lambda school review

Ashley Brooks

Lambda School was such an amazing journey. I learned so much more than I thought possible and really enjoyed my time there. Currently, I am working full-time as an Analyst.

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